“It’s the little foxes”
It’s the little foxes
What the preacher never told me, though he did tell me about all the porn he was so woefully addicted to and his penis throbbing in the moonlight, is that loving someone is like having a job.
When I got married at the district office, I didn’t expect love. I expected what I had requested: a visa and the company of a person physically smaller than I am.
But love happened like diarrhoea or hiccups happen and I’m grateful for it. Ill prepared, but grateful.
I want to approach my spouse in terms of myself, see him like I’m standing at the bottom of a space-coloured box purpling up all around me like Manhattan.
But the thing is, of course, that I can’t approach anything in terms of myself now. Was it beaten out of me by the preacher? That would’ve been a lovely excuse, but I’m not sure that it would be true.
The preacher’s abuse was verbal, if anything. And I am made of strong stock.
I know that I am, but I fall apart often and at night the dogs’ far-away barking turns to tin while I feel all of it. I lay in my bed quiet, however. Dangerous and unassuming, like a layer of ice. In the next room my husband breathes clouds the preacher can never touch.
If I was touched by him, the preacher, I should think of it as a bite from a radio-active spider. And start the rest of my life with aplomb. My hands fists, squarely on my hips, my chest to the sky. Great power. Great responsibility. Great ass. But if the preacher never touched me, but if the preacher never touched me. It’s hard to say what that should mean for me now. Or if it should mean anything at all. If I knew how to be better, the question of meaning wouldn’t occur to me.
Am a sensitive person that gives everything away to other people? A chump. Or am I an innocent victim of my story? It seems like there are only two choices.
Even so, I count my blessings at night. My blessings and the little crimps in my husband’s eyes. If the preacher tries to get us, he will be met with the force of a warm house where people buy Christmas presents. The force of two smart people who make work of their love and think up theories about it.
At night I count all the times I did not put my fist through the window – my expression flat like a tray of hospital food, my stance wide and resigned to it. I count all the ways I did not touch the sharp edge of what’s always in front of me. If the preacher earned a victory over me, it is the cheap kind.
Henali Kuit is the author of The incredible beat of my heart (Deep South, 2021). Her work appears in New Contrast, Prufrock, Ons Klyntji, Nuwe Stories, LitNet and elsewhere.